Broome County, NY – Last week, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo was joined by local leaders in a “Call to Action.”They urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign the “Direct Pay” bill (A.250/S.1466) into law to support Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers. This was one of 6 press conferences held across Upstate on the same topic.
Many communities are struggling to provide Emergency Management Services to their residents for a variety of reasons, including the current EMS reimbursement process. Many independent ambulance provider organizations do not receive a payment directly for their services. Instead, when a patient uses an out of network ambulance, the health insurer’s payment for the service goes to the patient, and often does not get forwarded to the ambulance provider as intended. This has resulted in significant financial losses for our EMS providers. Further complicating the matter is that some constituents are under the false impression that a “volunteer” ambulance is a free service, or intentionally take advantage of the reimbursement model for their own financial gain.
The “Direct Pay” bill, which unanimously passed both houses of the Legislature in June, aims to change the way EMS providers are paid. While they have always been able to bill insurers directly, they would now be able to receive payment directly in all instances. This will guarantee that providers receive the critical resources required to do their jobs safely and effectively, and ensure that ambulances are available when needed.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “After learning about the significant challenges facing Emergency Medical Services, especially in Upstate NY, we got behind this piece of common-sense legislation. While it is one piece of a larger set of issues (*see link to Broome County report below) it will go a long way to help stabilize the finances of these vitally important organizations. I hope the Governor agrees that reliable ambulance service is too important to risk and will sign this legislation as soon as possible.”
Assemblyman Joe Angelino said, “It’s a fact that rural EMS is in crisis. Emergency medical providers are facing a financial nightmare, and that is a travesty. It is abundantly clear the current system is broken, and the state Legislature provided a solution, unanimously. Our local EMS services are essential to our communities and need to be protected. For these reasons, I am proud to support the ‘Direct Payment’ legislation to make sure EMS providers are properly compensated.”
Senator Lea Webb said, “As a proud co-sponsor of the ‘Direct Pay’ bill in the Senate, I stand with my colleagues and communities across Upstate New York in this call to action. We urge Governor Kathy Hochul to sign this crucial legislation (A.250/S.1466) into law. It will ensure that dedicated EMS providers receive the vital resources they need to deliver safe and effective services, especially in our underserved areas. Let’s remove the financial barriers that have hindered our EMS leaders for too long.”
County Executive Jason Garnar said, “Our EMS personnel work hard every day to save lives across Broome County, but the challenges their industry faces make fast, efficient service for our residents more difficult. By alleviating some of the financial burden our providers are facing, this legislation will help improve service and care across the County. Thank you to Assemblywoman Lupardo & Assemblyman Angelino for working to pass this bill.”
Jeffrey Call, Chairperson of the United New York Ambulance Network, said “On behalf of the United New York Ambulance Network (UNYAN) and our over 40 members who provide vital ambulance services for the entire state, I ask Governor Kathy Hochul to sign this crucial legislation so that it becomes law. It will provide for a more efficient system in delivering the reimbursement to the providers who are entitled to it, strengthening the EMS system and ensuring better healthcare for all New Yorkers.”
*The “Level Zero” Crisis in Broome County
The Increasing Frequency of “No On-Duty Ambulances Available” for EMS Calls